Right: we have a sixthform building with 10 shared study rooms for sixthformers. Each room currently has an ageing Dell Dimension 2400 in - decent, reliable enough machines, but starting to seem a bit slow and also now have rather too small harddrives to fit our full set of installable software. We'll be getting a lot more sixthformers next year, so we need to sort out our workstation provision - the head of sixth form is aiming for 3 workstations per room.
The options I can think of are:
- Upgrade the harddrives of the current machines (£50 each, so £500) and buy some laptops/netbooks for general use (£400? X 20 = £8000) plus some sort of charging cabinet (er, £1000?) and a decent wireless access point (a stand-alone Ruckus 7363 - £500?). £10,000.
- Buy 30 all-new Windows 7 Acer R3610 mini all-in-ones (£300) and screens (£100). £12,000.
- Buy 30 new thin client devices of some kind (£???), with screens (£100). Handily, the nice people at Axel Technologies are sending me a free M75 all of my very own to play with, although they recommend their M80 as their current model. Anyone used the M80, can recommend it, or tell me how much one is?
A thin client solution, of course, is going to need a server - I discussed a Dell T610 with 24GB of RAM in a previous thread which would seem to be perfect for 30-odd users. £2,000. We would also need 30 server CALs and 30 TS CALs - anyone any idea how much? In total, £5,000 to start plus a cost (including CALs) for each device * 30.
- Buy some second-hand all-in-one workstations to use as thin clients. We got some old all-in-one RMs for £30 each the other year, I don't suppose anyone's having a classroom refurbishment this year, are they?...
- Buy 10 decent desktop machines with twin dual-head graphics cards (£500?), a copy of Windows Multipoint Server 2010 (£??? - anyone know?) and appropriate CALs (£???). If we bought new screens at £100 each, I'm guessing that's around £1,000 per PC, so £10,000 for the lot.
Does the above seem about right? Anyone any thoughts?
What apps and what level of performance are your users looking for here? Any Flash or multimedia?
Good question - I hadn't considered that. We run A-level photography and media studies, and we have a site license for Adobe Creative Suite 3 and Serif Design Suite. Our media suite is a classroom, not a free-access sixth form study area, so ideally I guess we would like sixth formers to be able to do graphics and video editing on their workstations. I'm guessing the thin clients might struggle a bit (or a lot) with that - maybe the multi-seat option would fair better?
What about a mixture of thin clients and laptops (for the heavier apps (eg photo editing))?
Good point - use the current workstations as thin clients (wouldn't even have to buy a new server for that, 10 clients could squeeze on to the prep school server) and get a trolly of netbooks.
And if you are worried about management of the laptops, you could perhaps get the librarian to manage them as a loanable piece in the system.
It's a good point, but we should be okay - this is a private girl's school, the students are generally relativly delicate with the equipment. We would need a central charging point for the laptops, and we'd have to get it through the student's heads that they need to plug the laptops back in so they charge overnight. Hmm - unless, of course, we skip the charging trolly and simply shove a couple of laptop power adapters inside the power trunking in each room, ready to plug in to a laptop.
Indeed - have just ordered two dual-head graphics cards to put in a desktop machine to try it out. I think it's still going to cost us around £1,000 for a 3-user machine by the time you've bought the machine, 3 monitors and Multipoint Server licenses and CALs. We could perhapse look at second-hand screens, though - 15" is actually a pretty resonable size (anything bigger will take up more space, too), and we managed to get some of those for around £30 each a couple of years ago.
I think we've had a couple of other threads that have mentioned this. I think the version that we can license in a school is less limited - it can join domians and doesn't have a hard limit set on how many workstations you can attach to a server. In one thread we tried to figure out how many graphics ports you could get into one machine - I think we got to around 30...
I think you should take a look at the 10ZiG Technology RBT616v, this is a small, but powerful thin client (Intel Atom 1.6GHz), it has RDP 7 which allows for the offload of the processing power from the server to the Thin Client device.
I think you should take a look at the 10ZiG Technology RBT616v
Right: RDP 7. I assume that needs Windows Server 2008 to serve? If I have a dual quad-core processor machine with 16GB of RAM and 18 connected clients (second-hand machines running Linux and RDesktop), could I have 3 or 4 clients on RBT616v connected, and could those clients manage Photoshop okay? YouTube video? Any chance of doing video editing? Do I need a decicated thin client device to take advantage of RDP 7, or will RDesktop be okay? Would the second hand machines running Linux and RDesktop be able to handle Photoshop (CS3) okay anyway?
Last edited by dhicks; 30th June 2010 at 05:24 PM.
Buy 30 new thin client devices of some kind (£???), with screens (£100).
The average price for a new, modern, RDP 7-capable thin client device seems to be around £150. We would then need to spend around £50-ish on CALs per device. Thin clients require a server - a Dell T610 capable of handling 30-odd Windows clients is around £2,000, so call that £50 per client. Screens are still £100, so that's £350 per client compared with £400 per client for a Windows 7 machine - £10,500 for 30 compared with £12,000 for 30. That hardly seems worth the bother - you get something a little bit cheaper that has trouble running multimedia.